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In 2001 SIX Valleys youngsters swapped old South Wales for New South Wales to make music that merges the Welsh and Australian cultures. 

The team, aged between 14 and 20, flown to Byron Bay - Australia's most easterly point - to take part in a unique AustroWales musical exchange called Celtic Dreamtime. 

They spent 12 days performing at schools in the towns of Casino and Lismoret and linking up with arts and music groups, including Aboriginal association The Murri Group. 
One of the highlights of the trip was performing for the St David's Society of Brisbane on March 1. 
The project, which used music to create links between young people in Wales and Australia, was an initiative of Hirwaun YMCA and the National Council of YMCA Wales
Funding for the trip was raised by the youngsters themselves and supplemented by a donation from Hirwaun YMCA.
On the team was a talented 19-year-old singer Mike Thomas, who was determined to make the trip, despite suffering from cerebral palsy. 
Fellow traveller Bevan Pughsley, 18, from Hirwaun, said at the time : "I can't wait. I'm looking forward to meeting new young people and seeing what they can do musically and show them what we can do." 
The exchange was led by the Hirwaun YMCA's Gwyn Jones who was funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music,  and worked as a community "music maker" in the area.
 "This project was about young people singing about their everyday lives but within a context that draws on both Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology and Welsh legends such as the Mabinogi, " said Mr Jones at the time. 
"All the preparation work for the project was completed at Hirwaun YMCA's studio facilities - where the Stereophonics began their musical careers."
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